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Some Schools See Boost In Spanish Language Classes

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WILSON COUNTY, N.C. — As the Hispanic population continues to grow in North Carolina, so does the number of Spanish classes offered in schools.

In Wilson County Schools, there is more interest in upper level classes than ever before. It's tough to even find a seat in the five entry-level classes at Fike High School.

At Fike, Spanish teacher Dr. Tom Haitema said students have to be turned away from classes and deferred a semester.

"Very seldom does a freshman get into Spanish One," said Haitema, who has up to 34 students in each of his classes. "I think it's exciting; I think it bodes well for the future of the country."

Steven Lunsford and Garland Homes are juniors at Fike High School and in the Spanish Four class.

Both started because of educational requirements and to stay competitive when applying to colleges, they said.

But these students, and many others, said they also took the class because of the growing Hispanic population in Wilson County and in North Carolina.

"If you're applying for a job, you have a better chance of getting that job," Lunsford said.

Homes added: "It certainly makes everything a whole lot easier. You find every day that the Spanish language is being integrated more and more into English."

Officials with Wake County, Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Cumberland County schools said there has been no substantial increase in students taking Spanish language classes in their districts.


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